Vertex to pump $1.5 million into science education at two South Boston high schools

The company now building its headquarters on the South Boston waterfront today announced a science-education program at Boston Green Academy and Excel High School in South Boston, the mayor's office reports:

[The] programs will aim to increase student participation and achievement in advanced placement (AP) courses and prepare teachers for the national “Next Generation Science Standards” being implemented next year. Vertex also today announced the dedication of a new 3,000 square foot learning laboratory being constructed at its future headquarters in the Innovation District. The learning laboratory will be available for use by BPS and other community groups, allowing students and teachers to conduct scientific projects alongside Vertex scientists.

Up to 20 students at the schools will be selected as summer interns at the company once it moves from Cambridge; the company will also award two scholarships a year and create a research fellowship program for science teachers at the schools.

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Menino deal?

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What tax breaks did Boston & others give Vertex for putting HQ there instead of Cambridge or elsewhere and this $1.5M program?

Only one problem

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If we hadn't given them $22 million in tax breaks the city and state could have just done this themselves and had an extra $20 million or so in revenue for other programs.

This stuff is all negotiated up front by the politicians:

a) We'll give you tens of millions in tax breaks
b) When the dust settles, you kick a few million back and give us all credit for it (the company and the political hacks)
c) People will think we are rock stars and vote us back in, and never even realize we bought their vote with their own money.

Genius.

Agreed

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While I'm not ready to crucify them yet, we do deserve to know if they got any "incentives" to set up shop over there.

If not, then they deserve praise for their commitment to Boston!

Oh, they got tax bene's

There's no confusion over that; they got property tax reductions.

I had originally written something much more critical in my earlier comment but figured I'd be nice for once. Thank you Stevil for picking up the slack!

$22 million

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$11.8 million tax break from the city and $10 million from the state. That's 21.8 million incentives.

And John - saw your comment. A lot of companies do indeed do a lot of good around here aAnd don't look for anything back. However, too often a lot of this stuff comes with "strings attached" - sooner or later. This particular one just reeks of quid pro quo.

...and let's not forget,

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...and let's not forget, that's $10m in state incentives for moving from one Massachusetts city to another. To which Boston added $11.8m, for a move Vertex was reportedly committed to making anyway because of its need for more space. Fabulous.

I'd rather that Vertex kicked some of it back in this fashion than kept it all for its shareholders. But let's not pretend that this is a benefit of the mayor's innovation agenda. Boston's still $9m in the hole on this particular move.

Pitchforks

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and torches...

This tax credit nonsense needs to stop.

Infrastructure Improvements as the quo for the quid

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As part of those negotiations, the quo for the quid ought to be lasting infrastructure improvements. That means that the people behind the huge projects (Vertex, Liberty Mutual, NB, the developers, etc.) ought to make improvements to, say, public transit, and then be on the hook for maintaining what they build and not be immunized from liability so we can be confident that they will maintain what is built. (I mentioned this before on the NB thread here ).

Liberty Mutual, just as an example, could have done, among other things, the ADA/elevator work at Arlington, Copley, etc. Making these kinds of deals might also be better for the companies, as they can then say to their shareholders/boards, "we're going to spend a lot of money on these improvements, but they are going to help our own employees and our clients get to and around our new location".

Notice that I did not say merely pay for the improvements - that doesn't work because the money just goes into the general fund and gets lost. Also, if the companies are forced to oversee the building themselves, they'll want to make doubly sure that the improvements are built quickly (for $$ reasons) and well (for the liability reasons above). Some of this would require changes to state law, but we have to do something differently with respect to infrastructure and soon.

It's completely uncontroversial

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...when said monies flow from development projects into roadway improvements and parking lot creation. They call it "traffic mitigation" measures.

Inside the city, traffic mitigation requirements should imply support for public transportation, not more parking spaces. Would be interesting to see the BRA permit transit improvements in lieu of parking lots.

Grassley and SEC investigation

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Is the gang here aware that Sen. Grassley has Vertex in his sights and is encouraging an SEC investigation into its pharma shenanigans? Reference the Pharmalot blog. Good neighbor?

Dunno, but would like to know more...

Sometimes I feel like

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IMAGE(http://blogs.e-rockford.com/willpfeifer/files/2011/08/starshiptroopers2.jpg)

Sometimes I feel like Verhoeven and Scott are tuned into what the future really has in store for us.